Education is being revolutionized through gamification. The art of adding elements of a game into learning methodologies has become a core part of what Mauri Laakso lives and breathes daily. Luckily, we had the honor of scratching off more than the surface of this phenomenon.

It all began by being inspired from telling fairytales to primary students. Mauri saw the fire in their eyes and that there was potential in teaching through telling stories and playing. He has been in teacher training for 10 years, in addition to 5 years as a part of the faculty. He has since been an entrepreneur for 9 years with a passion and focus on gamification and inquiry learning. His definition of inquiry learning is the process of identifying how you learn, then developing a certain area of expertise by having the desire to learn something, then acting on it in the same manner as a researcher would. One learns to discover, then share the findings with others. 

As a rebel of ‘normal’ gamification that usually involves levels, badges and points, Mauri insists that those aspects are not so important. Gamification is not about learning with games, it is adding certain elements of a game into the method. For example, the essence of time pressure could be integrated into any classroom task. That is a process of gamification. What is most important, according to Mauri, is the emotions and values behind the goal — why are you doing it? There must be a reason behind the mission and it has to be something that you love because there lies the true motivation behind anything.

The use of role-play is common in Mauri’s line of work. He has worked with many large Finnish companies, providing new learning spaces for employees and their customers. This type of gamification can also be implemented in other sectors where any training is needed. Usually with the role-play, it forces the actor to think ‘what if?’. This in turn creates a dynamic environment in which you play make-believe, and when you create distance from your inner core, you have the freedom to illustrate, thus, innovate. The main challenge of gamification is finding that right goal for your organization. There must be a clear vision of the mission before the first onboarding process begins in the gamified learning space for it to prominently succeed.

Mauri claims that big data and AI are coming — not sure if that is a good or bad thing. It can certainly help to collect knowledge of learners and make it easier to find focus of individuals to further enhance their personal capabilities. So, what’s next for him? Helping parents. It is tough to raise children in this new technology generation and he would like to help parents make it easier by adding gamification to the process.

Gamification is a fairly new concept, spreading like wildfire across all realms of training and education sectors. It can develop motivation in all learners that may not be attainable through traditional methods. If you are looking for innovation, the answer may just be gamification.

More information on Mauri here: https://leikkikesken.wordpress.com/

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